I wanna cry. Seriously. I've been so horrible to you guys it isn't even funny.

BUT ANYWAAAAAY, I've finally cranked back into writing mode (at least, for the time being) so grab a nice chair, and a sandwich and keep on reading. I'd appreciate it alot. :)

I hope this chapter explains some. It's another serious one. And there will be a few surprises.

Okay. I'll just let you guys start reading now, okay? For real. Enjoy. :)

- Trish

Disclaimer: I do not own TDI. Unless my name is Jennifer Pertsch or Tom McGillis and no one told me.

(And by the way, this story happens without the special or the upcoming season. It's just based on season one. Thanks.)


It was impossible.

Chris Maclean sat in his office, his palms growing sweaty, his fingertips drumming constantly against the corners of his desk. The stakes were getting high. People were going to notice. Three of the twenty-two, missing? How could this happen?

He'd thought about some explanations for the first two. Because both characters have resumed to their not-so-dramatic lives, he could announce, the producers and I have decided to give DJ and Bridgette, respectively, a break and- And what? What about Geoff? Do they ever get back together? And DJ, the kind-hearted, sensitive one? He and Bridgette were walking through a hall, last time we saw them, for a reason that was bleeped out inconveniently…

For the sake of our ratings…You're an idiot, Mr. Maclean.

But the bigger problem was the disappearance of 6th voted off, respectively, Tyler West. Not only was it impossible, but even more was it unreasonable. Did he find out? It wasn't very difficult to accomplish such, but if so, how did he find out before the show even started?

Usually, Maclean thought of himself to be quite awesome in thinking up of excuses. Today was that sad, sad, sad exception.

Two days later came to his horror. As two more screens came up blank. Gwendolyn Rimando, and Harold, just 'Harold', were the reasons three out of twenty-two, increased to five. Five. Out of twenty-two. He was beginning to panic. Secretly.

A meeting was called at exactly 9:03pm.

"How did this happen?" the host, who was on the brink of having a stroke (as what seemed to everyone in the room), tried his best to keep a calm demeanor, but later found himself talking much louder than usual.

There were nearly twenty people in the room, and none of them had an answer.

"Gee, why don't you just tell us instead?" Suddenly, the doors swung open, and an audience found themselves staring into a wave of ridiculously red hair, and a set of instinctive, bright green eyes. There were nearly twenty jaws in the room, and every single one of them dropped.

She calls him up, she's tripping on the phone now
He had to get up, and he ain't comin' come now

- I Don't Wanna Be in Love, Good Charlotte

Trent (Wednesday, 7pm; 'Party's cancelled, huh? What a shame, I was really looking forward to those cocktail weenies.')

I slammed the door shut behind me. And thought the following two things, in order:

One, I've gotta get away from here.

Two, a heck of a lot of guilt; as I heard the making's of a "wait-" and some hesitation right after. For some crazy reason I wished she'd just come after me, take me back, and feed me some more of that frozen cheesecake herself. But that wasn't gonna happen anytime soon, I realized, finding my way around the block, stopping to think another block later. I couldn't head back 'til pre-twelve, really. For both her sake, and mine.

But mostly for Gwennie's sake.

Two steps.

A sigh. An excessive, profound, kind of desperate one at that.

Because deep, deep, really deep, down inside (Actually, not that deep. At all.), I wanted to come back. I wasn't sure if she was ready for that though, or if it was more of just me with the problem. I'd reached the point when I never really knew anymore.

Hey, you, with the funky hair and really bad pick-up lines, shut up.

Thanks for the advice, buddy. I'll see what I can do.

I pitied myself for being so pathetic, and ran the rest of the not-too-long-but-felt-like-infinity-way-there. Running away from your thoughts is…like running away from yourself basically. It's impossible. They're pretty much the same thing, anyway.

But it helps. A little. Not really.

It can be put on pause though. If you look hard enough, it's easy to get distracted for at least a good ten minutes, and have your mind directed somewhere else. And just when you think it's actually listening to you for once, you realize the distraction's not exactly what you were hoping for.

My stomach lurched as I found it, the very distraction I regretfully asked for, draped over her porch steps, her face buried into her palms, her dress getting soaked conveniently by the rain, which I hadn't really noticed much until I got there.

"So, party's cancelled, huh?"

I wished I'd taken it back.


She sat up after the five minutes. Her brown locks were damp, and her rare apply of eyeliner went with it, mixing with the tears that were already mixed with the rain. I put my arm around her, gently pulling her up.

"Come on, we better head inside."

Beth stared. It was a look that meant she most likely thought I was messing with her, but a look that also seemed slightly grateful.

She put on a tough front and walked in, letting me close the door behind her. I set down my guitar case by the coats in the main entrance, and thought for a second.

First thing, I got her a towel. She was sitting by the fireplace when I came back, watching the flames dance and leap possessively.

"I'm guessing you didn't get the memo either," were the first words that came out of her mouth, ten minutes after that.

At that moment, I was warming up hot chocolate, kind of surprised she'd decided to talk at all. "Guess not."

"To tell you the truth, the people Alexis 'hired' didn't come either. I figured it was just a misunderstanding, so I went and decorated the place myself. I didn't think it meant the whole thing was off…" Beth trailed the rest of it, and her eyes grew skeptical. "Or that it was just this big prank on me from the beginning."

Note to self: Notice the streamers and cheap party hats earlier next time. I felt her pain. The truth would hurt, a lot.

"I'm sorry, Beth."

She glanced up at me, her eyes widening at the sight of the two mugs of hot chocolate, which I have to say, is my specialty.

Twenty minutes after watching some TV and finishing up the last drops of our beverages, she smiled, her braces peeking over her almost-perfect set of teeth. "Thanks, Trent. For everything."

The quiet scares me because it screams the truth,
- Sober, Pink

Eva (Wednesday, 9:15pm; 'Deal with it. It's the new motto. Get with the times.')

I started the cold water and ran my fingers through it, washing the deep cut I'd gotten trying to make dinner. Chopping onions wasn't my thing, and obviously, I would've rather been burning sweat at the gym that night. But I had a good reason for it. I wasn't used to the tears that always came; I wasn't used to having stupid stories that had to do with stupid onions making you cry and look stupid if anyone was around, feel stupid, regardless. I ended up throwing out what I'd managed to come up with during that stretch of torture, and warming up the beef and potatoes instead. Leftovers we'd had for a week.

Because I had to, I even set the table; for two, if my father miraculously decided to come home earlier that night.

Half an hour had passed when I decided to dig in early, quietly raising the fork to my mouth, the seat in front of me still empty.

Like it had been for the last three years.


I woke up with that feeling of distress, the one you got when things weren't quite going the way you wanted, when you hoped it was finally the day things were about to go your way for once. The feeling you got when you also knew none of that was gonna happen. Needless to say, it wasn't too new to me.

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life, you idiot," I muttered to the person standing in front of me as I rolled out of bed, finding myself staring into a mirror approximately two seconds later.

The person in front of me rolled her eyes. "Apparently."

Whatever. I got dressed and walked into the kitchen, finding a note stuck onto the fridge. My father's handwriting. Raised eyebrow. Those didn't usually happen.

I glared at it,


Gone for a week. Headed for Bobby's. Hope you understand,

See you soon, Pops

With a grunt, I ripped it off and stuffed it into my pocket.

Next thing I knew, I was walking to school, Antoinette suddenly by my side, giggling to herself and trying to annoy the hell out of me. Pierre had other plans that, for once, didn't involve me, and I gotta say, I appreciated that. I wasn't paying much attention, but he didn't seem excessively thrilled during that over-and-done-with…blur.

I got this queasy feeling, trying to recall the reason why I stuck to beef and potatoes last night. There were cans of soup in the cupboards, and we even had leeks. Pops liked leeks, at least from the occasion he was home, sitting in the balcony, helping himself to a bowl of leeks.

"My father's out," I blurted out without thinking, "Out of town. He'll be gone for a week."

Antoinette looked at me as if it was the most horrible thing that could ever happen to a person. "Serez-vous bien sur vos propres?"

I cringed. French hadn't always been my forte, and today wasn't going to make things any different. I said the words that felt right. "I'm used to it. It isn't like this hasn't happened before."

While we walked the rest of the way, she passed me combinations of weak smiles and words of pity. Apparently, they were supposed to make me feel better.

"Hey, I think I see a bird."

Ezekiel (Thursday, 1:30pm; Rejects' base)

"I can help you with that."

Garbage offered, peering over the large crate in my hands on her tippy-toes, brushing a lock of light brown hair away from her eyes. She'd never worn her hair down, and it was weird not seeing her in the usual get-up-oversized jackets, torn jeans…looking more like a homeless person living on the streets, if anything. Today must've been the day pigs started to fly and tax prices went down.

Eh, and did I really look that wimpy or something? I winced. Or was she just being…nice? That was yet another mystery to add to the unusual weirdness of today. Someone needed to call in the Scooby Doo Gang. And fast!

Hehe. One of the guys thought of that one.


I handed her the box-I can't remember-between the part when she snarled at me, and the part she threatened to seriously beat me up this time. She was the last person I wanted to mess with.

"There's a whole lot more shipment coming in," Garbage stated the obvious…the obvious I'd just recalled, "If you're too…well, you to remember, they're parked just down the street. The faster we get things done, the sooner we can leave."

A pause. "And please, don't mess things up, won't you?"


She rolled her eyes, throwing her fist to her hip, bluntly. "Oh, please, call me Jess. Makes me feel less…trashy."

"Oh. Uh, sure thing, eh."


Clearly, there must've been something wrong with Anthony when he decided to order three truckloads-heavy of football trading cards, I thought, as the guy handed me four more boxes while balancing a cigarette in between his dry lips.

How could Anthony afford all this?

Along with a brand new match set, you would've thought someone would end up curious. But what do you know, people in these parts of town have come to the idea that stuff like this happens everyday.

None of that "And what do you plan on doin' with all this anyway, chump" or "That's a lot you ordered there now". He simply smirked through his moustache, stuffed the last box into my hands, and said, "Well, there you go, kid."

I frowned, watching him close down the back of the truck, and jump into the driver's seat and pulling out of illegal parking. The guy waved too, eh.

So there I was, trying to juggle five boxes, and on the brink of having both my arms fall off. You're better than that, I told myself, you're a guy, after all.

And that's how I decided to suck it up and head back, my arms de-tached by the time I got there or not.


I lunged backwards into a pile of unpacked boxes, and checked if my arms were still in place. Good. I liked my arms. Especially suckers like these. …Garbage shoved me hard and I fell through, landing painfully-headfirst.

Oh, right, she goes by Jess now.

Jessie, Jessica…nah, I liked Garbage.

She spoke through the possible other names I could come up with. "You better quit being a baby and get back to work before the rest of the gang gets back and notices you doin' nothing."

'The rest of the gang' had a serious assessment fifth period, and couldn't afford to skip class. We were the only lucky ones who could.

"Eh, sorry 'bout that, Gar-" She passed a look that could kill.

Jess it is.


Anthony dropped by at ten to two to see how we were doing.

"Nice to see you two are getting along!" This brought forth different reactions than what he was going for.

'Jess' snarled, then tore open another box and threw several more packs of cards into the pile. I, felt the blood rushing to my head, as you recall, for reasons that involve me being tossed around like a pack of cards.

He shrugged and walked over to me, scratching his forehead, "Tough day, huh?"

I blinked. "Tough day."

In time to catch you
No one should let you
Go wandering off into the night
You're not an orphan.
- Orphans, Jack's Mannequin

Heather (Thursday, 3pm; 'How…excruciating.')

I remembered how it felt when I was invisible.

The wind blew between my hair as I continued down the path, and I gave it some more thought. It used to be a bother, but nowadays, I lived for moments like these.

I remembered how it felt when I was like the wind. Time flew by even faster. Days would just come and go.

The plan was to meet Lindsey and Lewshana back on Dewdney Avenue, the place we held our first meeting. My feet felt heavier when I walked. I wasn't sure whether to tell them or not, but at the same time, I knew I had to.

My thoughts drifted back.

It happened during middle school. I wasn't too popular back then-had a few friends, got decent grades. One day, I woke up, and I couldn't find myself staring back at me in the mirror. I still had my shadow. It was my only proof I still existed.

I kept walking. My own mother wouldn't let me go to school. Not like that. So I spent the rest of those days watching the sun rise and set on my front porch and the people come and go. But mostly, I'd be looking into my mirror, waiting for the day I came back.

Three months later, there I was. It wasn't easy. I think it was painful to see myself again. I was a lot skinnier, because I'd eaten a lot less. I'd dropped about twenty pounds.

When I got back to school, people didn't seem to notice. Not many knew my name to begin with, and the few who'd known my name had forgotten. From that day forward, it felt like I had to make sure everyone did.

They say there's a turning point for everyone, and that, was mine.

I found them in the coffee shop, seeming to be deep in conversation, conversing between long, heartbreaking drinks.

They saw me, and looked up.

Lewshana spoke first. "Took you long enough."

I gave a weak smile and took a seat, finally deciding upon sharing the day-old news, beginning with, "Tyler West is alive."

I am a hostage to my own humanity
Self-detained and forced to live in this mess I made

- Be my Escape, Relient K

Duncan (Thursday, 6:01pm; 'Here we go again.')

"Isn't this like, so funny?"

Courtney hissed, and stomped her foot. "Now's not the time, Duncan."

I threw a smirk back. Well, I found it funny. Let's give you the update, shall we? Less than fourty-eight hours ago, Princess and I hit the road. Then comes the mad police chase. We would've made it, obviously, since I'm the fastest driver I know, but then we crashed, because turns out, I'm also the stupidest driver I know.

But here's the funny part-right before we made off, I promised we wouldn't end up in prison again. Yet here we were, somehow heading for court.

"Actually, I take that back. It's exceedingly hilarious."

"Quiet," said Bubbles. It said on his name tag, no joke. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, we're being led to court by these two large creepers in fancy suits. The other one's named Barry. He hasn't said a word so far, but he grunts alot, I have to say.

The next bit, I brought up this story that happened back in sixth grade, when I egged the principal's office. Bubbles seemed pissed. Courtney, as per usual, asked her questions like, "And how much detention did that one cost you?" and "Was it really worth it, honestly, Duncan?" Barry just grunted.

Ten minutes later, Courtney and I were instructed to sit and wait in this small room, and the creepers in the suits ditched, gratefully. The room had no windows, and they'd locked the door, to my surprise. There were five plastic chairs, and a coca-cola machine, randomly in one corner. Princess took one seat, and made me take the empty corner.

"Got any change?" I waved a finger to the cola machine.

"No," she stated, bitterly.

"Is that so?"

"Shut up for once, Duncan, I'm trying to think."

"Okay then, what do you think?"

"I think you're an idiot." After, she went on saying things like how it was all my fault and she was an idiot too for trusting me and that once her parents heard she was a criminal she would never be able to face the rest of humanity again.

I tried to let the guilt sink in. There was plenty of reality on her side of things, but for me, it was just another day. To her it was the end of the world, to me, it was like a tiny scratch on my arm, or something. No big deal. It stung, but it would be over. I realized this was what kept me and Courtney from being together-the fact we didn't understand eachother well enough, the fact I couldn't see her side of things, the fact she couldn't see mine.

She ended off, "I hate you."

I leaned my head back, gently scraping it against the paved wall. "I know."


Twenty minutes later, a middle-aged woman in a floor-length coat swung the door open, much to our distaste of being left there forever to die. "Courtney Evans? Duncan Mackenzie?"

We nodded, without looking at eachother.

She looked at me. "Your father's waiting outside. He's going to take you both home."

"What about the trial? The courtroom? We were supposed to be-" Courtney was a mess, at that point, not sure of anything, not sure of who to believe.

The woman looked at her funny. "I have no idea what you're talking about. A trial? A courtroom? Last time I checked, I was a dentist and I worked at a dentistry. Right now you're in the spare waiting room, for mental patients who are having a hard time. The two men who brought you here told me you both had appointments scheduled for seven fifteen? It's cancelled now apparentely, you're free to leave."

I frowned, still a bit skeptical. "Well, I guess that's it."

Courtney and I stood up and followed the lady out. Come to think of it, the place did look more like a dentistry than anything. My head spun, and I tried to rack my brain for answers. What just happened? Why does this seem so much like a set-up?

We walked out into the parking lot. A few familiar faces-Dad, and Spike-stood next to the good 'ol Toyota. They didn't seem to know anymore than we did.

"Get in the car, kid," my father called out. It had been a long week.

Needless to say, it was long, quiet ride home.

Hope you guys enjoyed! Christmas break is coming up, so I'll try to get some writing done.

Read and review....!